|Tennessee's Smiths - JaJuan, Ramar and Tyler - love the bond, confusion of their shared name|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 26 March 2008 08:02|
So, he just throws a name out and hopes it's the right one.
JaJuan Smith, Ramar Smith and Tyler Smith say they love the bond - and confusion - their last name brings. The Smiths and the rest of the Volunteers (31-4) face Louisville (26-8) in the East Regional semifinals on Thursday.
``We're brothers,'' Tyler Smith said.
So much so that the Smiths, who are unrelated, have heard a lot of people refer to them as ``the Smith brothers.''
They prefer ``da Smith boyz,'' though, and they claim there's a secret handshake.
Sometimes they use their jersey numbers to refer to one another, but even that can add to the confusion: Tyler wears No. 1, JaJuan has No. 2 and Ramar sports No. 12.
``The tougher thing about the guys is they all wear headbands on the court,'' Kesling, who is also director of the Tennessee athletic department's external communications. ``That makes them look more similar.''
In calling a game, Kesling said he tries to roll the guys first and last name together as if they were one long name. ``It would be much harder if there were three Hornbuckles,'' he said, referring to Lady Vols player Alexis Hornbuckle.
On the road, Tyler Smith said he's heard announcers get a little more creative, combining JaJuan and Ramar into one player, Jamar Smith.
The trio has been a key part of Tennessee's success this season, averaging a combined 35.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. They have shared the starting lineup 17 times.
Guards Ramar and JaJuan and forward Tyler all have different strengths.
``Oh, they all have their own personalities and their own deals. But they are great friends, and they are great teammates. They're close,'' said coach Bruce Pearl, who doesn't even bother with the name Smith. For him it's Ro, Juanny and Tyler.
Off the court, they like to hang out, competing on Playstation or Nintendo Wii - each claims to be the best at the Madden NFL or NBA Live games - or hosting cookouts on days off.
``It helps us on the court. It makes us more comfortable as a team,'' JaJuan Smith said.
Ramar Smith credits JaJuan, the lone senior among the three, for being a big reason on why he chose Tennessee.
``He's always trying to look out for you. He's like a big brother. He tries to show you the way,'' Ramar Smith said.
Once the season's over, the Smith trio will be down to two as JaJuan prepares for life after Tennessee basketball.
There's no future Smith brother in the works, for now.
``I kidded Bruce around recruiting time,'' Kesling joked. ``I said, ``What you couldn't find any other Smiths?' He said, 'No, I should work on that.'''